Team capsules

Major Indoor Soccer League

October 19, 2007|By KENT BAKER

California Cougars

Coach -- Bernie Lilavois

Last season -- 7-23, 11 games behind

Outlook -- The Cougars were a mess, beset by front-office turmoil and the most grueling travel schedule, which led to a 1-14 road record. They surrendered 482 goals, by far the most in the league, and will need to vastly improve their defense. Already, misfortune struck when F Vicente Figueroa, a former rookie of the year, tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the preseason. Sanaldo will handle the goalkeeping.

Chicago Storm

Coach -- Steve Morris

Last season -- 17-13, one game behind, lost in playoff semifinals

Outlook -- This team came roaring through the stretch, winning eight of its final 10 regular-season games, and tied Philadelphia for the best road record (9-6). A well-balanced squad, the pacemakers are MF Stephen Armstrong, the MISL leader in power-play goals, and F Mark Ughy. It will help to have John Ball for an entire season, and Jim Larkin and Jeff Richey are capable in goal.

Detroit Ignition

Coach -- Mark Pulisic

Last season -- 18-12, first, lost in championship final

Outlook -- Enjoyed a strong season as an expansion team and should be a factor in the race. The Ignition returns the league's most valuable player and scoring champion, Jamar Beasley (107 points), and boasts two strong midfielders in Jonathan Greenfield and Ricardinho. The biggest change is in goal after former Blast keeper Sanaldo was traded. Danny Waltman, the backup last year, takes over as starter.

Milwaukee Wave

Coach -- Keith Tozer

Last season -- 16-14, two games behind, lost in playoff semifinals

Outlook -- Always a contender, the Wave has a scoring machine in Greg Howes, who finished two points behind Beasley. Howes and Todd Dusoky, half of a brother duo that is a cornerstone of the team (Troy is the other), tied for the MISL lead with 29 assists each. Marcio Leite is a budding star in the midfield. The most pressing need is a backup for veteran goalie Nick Vorberg.

La Raza de Monterrey

Coach -- Eric Geyer

Last season -- 2007-08 expansion team

Outlook -- Geyer has coached in Mexico and is familiar with the league. He will continue to have his pick of Mexican players and is expected to field a highly competitive team. A good start is Genoni Martinez, who scored 73 points and led the MISL with eight three-point goals. He is a two-time defender of the year in the league.

New Jersey Ironmen

Coach -- Omid Namazi

Last season -- 2007-08 expansion team

Outlook -- Namazi is considered a solid coach, and the team will play in a new arena it shares with the New Jersey Devils. The Ironmen should be good in the net with former World Cup G Tony Meola and Bayard Elfvin. New Jersey has some talent at forward in Shaun David and Gary Brooks. It will be depending on Brazilian players, who comprise nearly half the roster.

Orlando Sharks

Coach -- Jake Dancy

Last season -- 2007-08 expansion team

Outlook -- There isn't a wealth of indoor experience on the roster, and the situation was complicated further when two expansion-draft picks, ex-Blast goalie Brian Rowland and burly Shawn Boney, from Philadelphia, did not report. Dancy has previous MISL experience as a player in Kansas City. Defense will have to be the strength, at least early.

PHILADELPHIA KIXX

Coach -- Don D'Ambra

Last season -- 17-13, one game behind, won championship

Outlook -- The KiXX again will be centered on player-coach Don D'Ambra, the league's third-leading scorer with 85 points, and G Peter Pappas, who started all 30 games and was named to the all-MISL first team. In the expansion draft, they added F Aaron Susi from California and ex-Blast MF Johnny Steele, and the defense is anchored by Pat Morris. But they will miss Martinez, a strong long-range shooter and free kick specialist.

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